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Shock as pensioner found dead in ditch
NEIGHBOURS have expressed their shock after a man in his 70s was found dead in a stream in Didcot.
Police were called to the brook behind Washford Glen, off Trent Road in Didcot’s Ladygrove estate, just before 12.40pm on Saturday after the man’s body was spotted by a nearby resident.
Police officers cordoned off the area while ambulance staff attended to the body.
Thames Valley Police spokesman Rebecca Webber said the death was not being treated as suspicious.
She said the man had not been formally identified but was believed to be from Didcot. The area where the body was found is popular with dog walkers and runners.
Tony Harbour, South Oxfordshire district councillor for Didcot Ladygrove, who lives on the estate, said: “This is terribly sad news and my thoughts are with this man’s family.
“But how he came to be there is something of a mystery.
“You don’t normally get people walking right next to the brook. It’s like a drainage ditch and there are a few of them on the estate.
“I’ve lived here for the past 17 years and I don’t think anything like this has happened before.”
Tracey Smith, 42, of Washford Glen, said she insisted on accompanying her 15-year-old daughter Lottie to a nearby friend’s house rather than letting her walk there alone after hearing the news.
She said: “It is a shock and it’s quite frightening.
“It is quite comforting to know it wasn’t suspicious.”
Sharon Nosworthy, 38, also of Washford Glen, said her initial fear when she saw the ambulance was that something had happened to her elderly female neighbour.
She said: “It wasn’t until later somebody had called and said my neighbour had seen the body in the ditch while he was filling up his bird feeder.
“It’s a quiet little cul-de-sac, and nothing ever happens here.”
Chris Abbott, 25, who has lived in the cul-de-sac for three years, said the level of police attention was unprecedented in the area.
He said: “There was an ambulance, four police cars and a van and they were here for pretty much all the afternoon.
“We have had nothing like this here before – this is such a quiet cul-de-sac.”
William Tanner, 66, said: “We have no idea who it might be. My neighbour round the corner found the man. He was filling up his bird feeder and he spotted this chap.
“The place was swarming with police all day – it’s usually sleepy hollow here.”
Ms Webber said how long the body had been in the brook before it was found would be ”something for the coroner to decide”.